Israel News

Israel Says “No Thanks” to French-sponsored Middle East Peace Conference

French envoy Pierre Vimont was informed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic adviser that Israel wanted nothing to do with the French effort to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians that last broke down in 2014.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, “(we) told the French envoy in a clear and unequivocal manner that Israel’s position to promote the peace process and reach an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Any other initiative, including this one, will only distance peace from the region.” 

Netanyahu’s office added that it expected France “not to promote a conference or a process that is contrary to (our) official position.”

Vimont later met Palestinian officials for talks in Ramallah. Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, said Vimont made it clear that France would issue invitations to the conference in December.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “We are in favor of holding the conference whether Israel participates or not.”

France held a preliminary conference in June where the United Nations, European Union, United States and major Arab countries gathered to discuss proposals without the Israelis’ or Palestinians' consent. A follow-up conference was planned. 

Israel refuses to make concessions to the Palestinians until they stop the incitement against Israel and agree to recognize Israel as the Jewish state and end the conflict between them.

The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel and say they will not resume talks with Israel until it suspends the building of settlements in Judea and Samaria and releases terrorists in Israeli prisons.

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